March 28, 2004


With my family crowded around my parents' kitchen table more than a year ago, I mentioned that I had self-published "State of the Union," a chapbook of political poetry, and had posted an anti-war poem with Poets Against the War. "Oh," said my brother, the cop. "Poetry," he said, giving me the patented Joe Burke Eyes Roll. "That'll make a big difference." We all laughed. And then Joe added, "I'm just kidding. Just kidding." But he wasn't, of course ... A few days ago, Joe landed in Baghdad, starting a one-year assignment to train local police officers. And all I can think of are a few lines from Sandburg: "In the darkness with a great bundle of grief, the people march. In the night, and overhead a shovel of stars for keeps, the people march: 'Where to? what next?'"


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